Over the last year, Amazon has been actively looking for ways to address the barriers and pain points involved with international selling and fulfilment. With Multi-Country Inventory (MCI), Amazon’s newest selling program, retailers can further localize their listings and increase conversion rates internationally.
Amazon’s efforts are especially visible for European sellers, who should find that selling to other EU countries has become significantly more streamlined. Here, we’ve rounded up some of Amazon’s programs and features aimed at helping you expand your sales internationally.
Above all, we recommend a phased approach to expansion. Below, we’ll cover some of the main selling opportunities you’ll want to be aware of as you go global:
- Sell internationally with Amazon FBA Export
- optimise fulfilment with Amazon Multi-Country Inventory (MCI)
- Expand to new markets with Amazon
- Strengthen your strategy with ChannelAdvisor
1. Sell Internationally with Amazon FBA Export
Your expansion could begin with sending orders to international customers via Amazon Export. Or it could mean getting your products in front of international customers by selling on a new Amazon marketplace.
Say you’re a UK retailer who lists on Amazon.co.uk. Using the fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) program, you can store products in UK warehouses and use the FBA Export program to ship internationally. Customers from 26 other EU member states are able to browse and purchase your products on Amazon.co.uk.
While Amazon FBA Export doesn’t add new global sales channels, it increases the number of consumers who can see and buy your products.
Keep in mind that shipments from your home country to other countries in Europe will incur your standard FBA fees plus a European fulfilment Network (EFN) fee. When cross-border sales become significant, Amazon’s Multi-Country Inventory becomes a smart next step.
2. optimise fulfilment with Amazon Multi-Country Inventory (MCI)
Multi-Country Inventory (MCI) is Amazon’s newest global selling program. MCI will help you reduce your fulfilment costs and increase conversion rates for products sold outside your home market. With MCI, which is based on Amazon FBA, you can now designate and locate your products in the FBA facility closest to your customers.
Let’s go back to our earlier example. If you’re a UK retailer who’s selling on Amazon’s German marketplace, you might determine that some of your products are selling well there and that you’d benefit from having inventory closer to these local customers. You can now hold some product quantity in the UK (fulfilling yourself or via an Amazon FBA facility) and also choose to send some product to the FBA location in Germany.
The benefit is that your products will be listed with shorter shipping times — which will help increase conversions. And because Amazon looks favorably on retailers with quick shipping, your chances of winning the Buy Box will increase. Last but not least: Your fulfilment fees will be reduced, since the shipment won’t incur an EFN fee between the UK and Germany. Finally, you save on transportation costs by sending products in bulk to local fulfilment centres rather than dispatching individual orders across borders.
For more information — including steps on how to enable MCI — see the Multi-Country Inventory page in Amazon’s Seller Central (login required).
If you fulfill on your own and are currently selling internationally, you can also take advantage of MCI. You can continue to fulfill your domestic orders yourself and gain a competitive edge in international marketplaces by fulfilling locally with MCI. You can choose to either fulfill your entire listings or just your best-selling items locally — there are no minimum requirements.
3. Expand to New Markets with Amazon
Selling directly on an international marketplace is the next step in your expansion strategy!
Amazon has third-party marketplaces in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, Japan and India — and more than 30 listing categories. Expanding globally allows you to identify new opportunities for your products as you diversify your customer base.
If you’re already listing on Amazon in the US or UK, the listing and error resolution processes are consistent as you expand globally, reducing that part of the learning curve. When deciding when and where to sell, we recommend first considering how you’ll handle fulfilment, payments and customer support strategies. The good news is that Amazon has developed some features to address these complexities:
- Translated listings foster a good buying experience and therefore are a requirement for listing on Amazon. Amazon’s tools, such as Expand Offers Internationally, will help you identify translated, in-catalogueueue products in your target markets and will speed up the listing process.
- Establishing an Amazon European Marketplace Account unifies all of Amazon’s European marketplaces and allows you to share quantity among them. You can also have your proceeds converted into the currency of your home country.
NOTE: Please keep in mind that each country has legal and industry requirements concerning sales of products to consumers. Please review the Amazon Terms & Conditions and Product Category Restrictions for any market you hope to sell into and seek the appropriate professional legal and tax advice.
4. Strengthen Your Strategy with ChannelAdvisor
At ChannelAdvisor, our goal is to keep abreast of new marketplace opportunities and provide you with a system that helps you manage the complexities of global selling. With less time spent manually listing and updating your information, you’ll have much more time to focus on refining your international strategy.
Our Amazon integration supports the Amazon global expansion programs: FBA Global Export, Multi-Country Inventory and European Marketplace Account. We’ll also give you the ability to list your products on Amazon in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, China and Japan.
Blog post by Gina DeFrank, ChannelAdvisor Product Manager.
Images courtesy of 2014 Amazon marketing materials.
If you’re a EU retailer looking to expand internationally, take a look at our three-part Agile CBT series that will detail the steps to success when taking your company and brand overseas.